White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday the border crisis exists in the minds of the media.
The Biden administration has steadfastly avoided the use of the word “crisis” to characterize the uncontrolled flood of illegal immigrants seeking to cross the southwest border.
In April, Customs and Border Protection data shows that there were 162,000 encounters with migrants.
Meanwhile, more than 20,000 children who crossed the border illegally are currently in detention facilities — an all-time high, the Washington Examiner reported Thursday.
Psaki continued to use the word “challenge” to describe the border when she appeared on a podcast with former Obama administration aide David Axelrod.
Axelrod raised the subject of the border, saying, “there is obviously a big problem down there.”
“There is this wrestling match you go through several times a week as to whether you’re going to call it a ‘crisis’ or how you’re going to describe it,” he said.
“In the big scheme of things, explain why that’s important,” he added.
“This is the sort of game that drives you nuts in Washington. It’s like, ‘I’m going to make you call this a crisis and then we will write a story saying you called it a crisis.’”
“White House in crisis,” Psaki said, as though reading a hypothetical headline.
“That’s a big driver of it,” she said, having earlier in the podcast touched on the “nature of some components of social media and media” as driving the news.
“Sometimes the chyrons, the social media leads, they’re looking for the nugget right? And we were pushed and pushed and pushed,” she added.
“Our calculation, on that front, is, one, this is cyclical,” she said.
The Biden administration claim that the flood is cyclical goes against a document from within the administration.
A document from Immigration and Customs Enforcement cited by the Washington Examiner noted, “DHS is seeing an increase in irregular migrant flows to the southwest border of the United States, including greater numbers of family units and unaccompanied children.
“The projected encounters for fiscal year (FY) 2021 are expected to be the highest number observed in over 20 years,” the document said.
But Psaki said it was important not to make the problem seem overly big.
“We’ve seen surges at the border. Every time it happens it’s bad,” she said.
“Until we do something to address it over the long term — root causes, immigration reform — it’s going to keep happening.
“But really what we had to be focused on was like what we were going to do about it, and to us it’s like that wasn’t really a crisis, it was a huge challenge,” Psaki said.
“But really a big driver was, we understand and know the nature of some components of social media and media these days and we just didn’t want to feed into that on this issue or really any issue.”